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NASA’s new flower-shaped spaceship will take real photos of alien planets

RATE THIS! +34
Posted in Science on 22nd Mar, 2014 10:11 PM by AlexMuller

NASA’s JPL released a concept for a new sunflower-shaped spaceship that will take actual photographs of planets outside our solar system. While scientists have been able to detect planets for years, obtaining real photos hasn’t been possible due to the intense brightness of the stars those worlds orbit.

 

However, the flower-shaped “starshade” spacecraft is designed to fix that problem. The ship is actually a hybrid telescope/spaceship that has two essential parts: the flower portion, and a telescope portion that can detach and operate independently.

 

(Think of it as a far more expensive and cooler version of Sony’s QX Smart Lenses that uses your smartphone in conjunction with a powerful lens.) NASA’s PlanetQuest site explains that the flower portion will position itself between the telescope component and the star it’s observing to block out the light before reaching the mirrors.

 
“With the starlight suppressed, light coming from exoplanets orbiting the star would be visible,” NASA explains. “Using this technology, astronomers would be able to take actual pictures of exoplanets, images that could provide clues as to whether such worlds could support life as we know it.”

Tags: NASAspaceJPLexpoplanet

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+3
Good news for space explorations - NASA is doing a lot of new and innovative things and will provide very valuable information in this case about exoplanets Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+3
They explained that this shape will allow the telescope to take images of the planets without being overwhelmed by starlight. The spacecraft’s shape isn’t purely cosmetic Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+3
Interesting concept "spaceshade" - . However, it seems that NASA is still quite a while away from making this concept a reality Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+2
Interest in exoplanets is increasing. Recently, a method that enables reseachers to weigh an exoplanet by measuring the starlight that shines through its atmosphere has been developed. This new way to weigh the mass of distant alien worlds could help reveal key details about how friendly they may be to life- important to know
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+1
Interestingly, it was also discovered recently that some of these planets also have moons. Scientists discovered one such exomoon, and the planet accompanying it, via something called gravitational microlensing. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-23
+0
Yes, very interesting. This exomoon and its planet, if they are correct, would be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Also, now that scientists know what to look for, we may spot more exomoons in the future. Reply
Reply


 

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